EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Pat Shurmur will call his own plays on offense for the Giants. He just won't run the offense alone.
Though Shurmur will have the play sheet in front of him on the sidelines and will make the big decisions, he does intend to hire an offensive coordinator. It's unclear if that coach will have a combo role - such as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach - but Shurmur said he will hire someone to help him carry that offensive load.
"I think when you put a staff together, there's people upstairs, there's constant communication," Shurmur said. "The reason we wear headsets is we're talking to each other. If it was just the head coach and nobody else, then I would say, yeah, that's tough. But the way that we're going to put the staff together, there's constant communication, and we'll have experienced people in all the roles necessary."
Shurmur found that out the hard way in his first year as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2011 when he was the head coach, offensive coordinator and play caller and the Browns ended up with the third-worst offense in the league. The next year he hired Brad Childress as his offensive coordinator and at least partially handed off play-calling duties to him.
Some coaches can handle a dual role. Some coaches - as Ben McAdoo proved with the Giants the last two years - can't.
Shurmur clearly thinks he can.
"It's been done before," he said. "You see teams around the league doing it. Why guys do it and then eventually give it up or whatever, that's their decision. You know, it's football."
Shurmur, of course, wouldn't say whom he planned to hire as his offensive coordinator ("That's a little bit behind the scenes right now," he said). One strong candidate, according to an NFL source, is Kevin Stefanski, who was Shurmur's quarterbacks coach in Minnesota. He's actually interviewing to replace Shurmur as the Vikings offensive coordinator, but if he doesn't get the job he could be willing to come to New York.
Another name to watch is former Eagles running back Duce Staley, who is now their running backs coach and has long been considered around the league as a future offensive coordinator. Former Cardinals offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin could be in the mix, too.
So far, Shurmur is known to have filled only one of his offensive assistant coaching jobs, hiring former LSU receiver Tyke Tolbert as his receiving coach. He is believed to still have vacancies to coach the quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends and the offensive line. Shurmur did say he'd be willing to consider some of McAdoo's former assistants, but of those only running backs coach Craig Johnson, assistant offensive line coach Lunda Wells and offensive assistant Ryan Roeder remain from the offensive side of the ball.
"I don't think you need to sweep the whole place clean," he said. "There's some really good coaches here, and I want to first keep them. There's other guys we're looking at outside the building that are, number one, career coaches, outstanding teachers, communicators. And so we're looking for those type people. Some of them are currently not quite available, but we'll make sure we get a staff full of guys that can inspire our players."